Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the season 3 premiere of The Flash. Read at your own risk!
What did you do, Barry Allen?!
When The Flash returned for season 3, the world was basically flipped upside down. For the past three months, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has been blissfully living in this new timeline, in which his mother never died and he’s no longer the savior of Central City. Instead, Barry’s a simple CSI, letting Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) save the day.
However, the former members of Team Flash no longer know Barry. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is an ostentatious billionaire, having bought S.T.A.R. Labs from Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) years prior and turned it into Ramon Industries. Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), meanwhile, is a pediatric eye doctor. The changes for the West family, though, are even greater. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Iris (Candice Patton) are on the outs, causing Joe to slack off at work.
When Barry’s memories of the new timeline start replacing those of the old, he’s forced to practically beg the Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher) to kill his mother, thus resetting the timeline. Unfortunately, not everything went back to normal, with Joe and Iris’ relationship still tumultuous.
The reason behind Joe West’s divide from Iris in Flashpoint is never laid out during the episode, which likely means the reason in one timeline is probably the same as the timeline they now find themselves in. Here’s what Martin told EW at San Diego Comic-Con about the Joe-Iris estrangement: “The reason that Joe is the way he is when you see him is that he made a huge mistake with his daughter, with Iris, and it caused a huge rift between the two of them, and Joe doesn’t think they’ll ever get over it. It kind of sucks, it does, but it’s fun to play.”
Despite this big change, Patton told EW that the original Iris likely wouldn’t be upset by Barry’s decision to tinker with the timeline. “We watched Barry have his father murdered right in front of him, his dad’s doppelgänger shows up, so he was going through a lot at the end of the season,” Patton said. “I think Iris, more than anyone, would understand the pressure he felt to want to do something of change. I think she would be supportive.” Whether Iris would understand her relationship with her father now being nonexistent is another question.
Martin, however, believes Joe would have advised Barry against saving his mother. “You can’t change the past, you’ve got to let things be,” Martin said. “God knows what would happen if you just altered the smallest thing. I think Joe would be real practical about it that way.”
But Iris’ estrangement from her father isn’t the only big change. This timeline’s Edward Clariss (Todd Lasance) — who is seemingly not super-powered or The Rival here — is awoken in the middle of the night by this season’s big bad, Doctor Alchemy. Who is he? (Or she?) The prevailing theory is that new cast member Tom Felton, who joins the show as CSI Julian Dorn in episode 2, is actually Doctor Alchemy, though executive producer Andrew Kreisberg is staying mum.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.